How to Craft an Email Marketing Strategy to Boost Orders in the Winter
Winter doldrums. They’re real. The holidays are over and wallets are emptier. The weather in many places is not pleasant and it can be a depressing time for lots of people.
As a business owner, you can actually have the winter blues too. Your revenue may be taking a significant downward slide, and since it is winter it could go on for a few months.
Everyone is now running considerable sales to try to capture what money consumers have left to spend. And you have to compete with those too.
The question is: How can you reduce the slump as much as possible until sales return to a reasonable level? And can you use email campaigns to do this?
The answer is yes, you can. But these will require some proper strategizing, fantastic content, and a bit of work – all worth it if you are serious about minimizing revenue loss and perhaps making some profit during the “down” season.
Here are three things you can do to spruce up your email campaigns for those winter months:
Yes, Run Another Sale
You’ve spent the final days before the holidays boosting sales through additional discounts, promotions, coupons, and more to generate increased sales in that ultimate rush. Now, you have to do it all over again – yes, you do because your competitors are doing it too.
Your customers bought from you because they like your product, it is the holidays, and you gave discounts.
Take a look at a brick and mortar store after the holidays. Consumers stop and look when a big sign says – 50% off. Or they will go into a store that has a window sign stating, “50% off everything in the store.”
They can’t resist a bargain, even if they may not need an item right now. It’s like winning a competition. They’ll store it away for next year, patting themselves on the back for being so smart and forward-thinking.
So while your customers still remember who you are and who they bought that item from, get a few emails out with your “year-end clearance,” “50% off everything,” etc.
But if you want to earn the competitive edge, then offer something more:
- free shipping on all purchases (customers see this as an additional discount)
- a freebie
- a “surprise” extra item
- double loyalty points with any purchase (or more). Offer use of those loyalty points immediately for additional purchase discounts.
Leverage Those New Year’s Resolutions
All of us resolve to be better in the coming year. We are going to take better care of our health, lose weight, budget our money and our time better, get our homes and our lives more in order… the list goes on and on.
As the new year moves forward, however, these resolutions wane in importance and a majority of us slip back into our old habits.
So you want to leverage those resolutions while they are still “hot.”
Sit back and do some creative brainstorming. How can your product feed into the most common resolution areas? Here are those most common areas of resolve:
Health and Fitness
There’s a reason why gym memberships grow in popularity in January. Every gym on the planet offers specials during this month to leverage the resolution to get fit.
The same goes for dieting. Weight Watchers has an increase in memberships, dietary supplements become popular, and organic foods and vitamins are all the rage.
Even products and services that promote reducing stress become more popular – yoga, meditation-videos, books, magazine subscriptions, etc.
You may not be in a specific health and fitness niche, but does your product help improve a mood or promote energy? Perhaps you market wall art products. You can focus on the mood enhancement of changing out pieces, the de-stressing aspects of new “calmer” colors, etc.
Cleaning, Organization, and Efficiency
A primary motivation for the New Year is to de-clutter, organize, and clean. In fact, this resolution is usually stronger than the one dubbed “spring cleaning” later on in the year.
Consumers are looking for products that will make these tasks easier, faster, and more efficient. Kitchen organizers, storage bins and baskets, and closet organizers are trendy products in January, as are cleaning products (especially “green” ones), tools, etc.
Can you tie into this need to get organized, more productive, and efficient indirectly?
People spend more time indoors in the winter, and they think about home improvement projects – big and small.
They paint, do complete room makeovers, replace old windows, update the bedding, buy new furniture and appliances, and make the repairs that have been “calling” them for months.
January is an excellent month to market all related products, even including new tools.
If you can tie your product or service into interior home improvements/enhancements, you may find an audience willing to listen and convert.
This ties into health and fitness indirectly, but can be considered a niche all of its own. People vow to improve themselves in many ways.
In relationships, work-life, daily routines, finances and budgeting, and in their appearances. They purchase self-help books to satisfy this resolution, search for budgeting/personal accounting software, enroll in online courses, and buy weighted blankets, teas, sleep aids, foot, and back massagers.
In terms of appearance, they look for hair care (even hair growth treatments) and skin treatment products. Anti-aging products are popular, too.
So if your product can tie into either mental or physical improvement, you have a large customer base to tap into.
Consumers may not want to spend money on expensive toys, clothing, and other frivolous items after the holidays.
But they still have a great interest in things that will improve themselves and their lives and provide a “lift” during the dull winter months.
Your job is to capitalize on these needs and use your email marketing campaigns to do this.
Plan and Implement Your Email Campaign(s)
What you want to do now is target your customers quickly – while they still remember you and while they are focusing on their new resolutions for the new year.
So you will have to strike relatively often throughout January and even into February. Consider all of the following:
- You have a treasure trove in front of you – all the email addresses of long-term customers and those of new customers who have made purchases during the holiday season. Some of them may even have been long-past customers you have purged from your lists, but are now back. Get your list(s) organized and segmented as you want. For example, you may not want to send the same email to your brand-new customers as to those who have returned after a long absence. While the content might be somewhat similar, you may want to create different subject lines.
- Speaking of subject lines, this is where you need to be creative. You can engage and compel opens with that subject line. If you are not feeling creative, get some professional help. There are writing services, such as Top Essay Writing and Classy Essay, that have creative copywriting departments or freelance creatives, on sites like Upwork or Freelancer.com. “50% off clearance sale” will be the same subject line of hundreds of other emails.
- Plan your winter email campaigns before the holidays. Here is the thing about that period immediately following the holidays. Businesses must deal with returns and exchanges, and that takes most of their time. They are then scrambling to get out those emails about post-holiday specials and sales. But because they are in a hurry, those emails will be quickly composed and perhaps a bit “sloppy.” If you plan your campaigns well in advance, it is just a matter of automatically sending them out (you are using an automated service/tool, right?). You can then spend the right amount of time building customer relationships during that return/exchange period.
- Deliver what you promise. Whatever your subject line promises must be delivered in the content if you intend to keep customer trust. Of course, you will want to provide the link to your website, but that link should take a recipient to the specific page that houses what you are offering. Trying a “bait and switch” once they get to your website will foster anger – just don’t do it. If you want a customer to convert in other ways (e.g., subscribe to your newsletter, download an e-book, etc.), do it with future emails, not these post-holiday sales-boosting efforts.
- If your email content promotes a specific product, along with pictures and descriptions, then allow the customer to streamline the purchasing process right within that email. “Click to buy” buttons should be housed right there and take the buyer directly to checkout.
- Personalize. This is nothing new, and you and your competitors have been doing this for a long time through automated services. It’s still essential.
- How often you send out those winter emails can be a tricky decision. This is where analytics and tracking can come into play. If you are tracking opens for several factors, one of them can be the extent to which opens are remaining stable or declining. Sometimes that decline can be the result of recipients feeling a bit harassed by the frequency. Track carefully and adjust accordingly.
While others are going dormant, you cannot. It’s easy after the holiday season to want to take a breather, but that is absolutely the wrong thing to do. If you are the one who is communicating and marketing when others are not, you will be listened to.
Take the initiative, plan in advance for your after-holiday campaigns, cull those email lists, tie into typical new year resolutions, get creative with subject lines, deliver what you promise, streamline purchasing processes, and personalize.
The above three areas for planning and implementing your winter email campaigns will bring results that can begin your own new year with increased sales and a much better outlook for the year.